Short riders face a particular set of problems. Generally speaking, the shorter your inseam, the more difficult it becomes to ride larger motorcycles because you simply can’t reach important things very easily. I know this because I’m a short rider (5’3”-ish) who’s been riding for the past 16 years, give or take.
That’s why Spanish company UpBiker created the signature device that bears its name. According to them, UpBikers are an accessory that attaches to the toes of your boots by way of a Velcro strap that goes around your heel. They add approximately 4 centimeters (or 1.5 inches) to the height in your toes.
Worried about shifting with these strange new protuberances on your feet? UpBikers are sized to specifically fit both right and left boots, with special cutouts that allow you both to shift and also to seat your feet securely on the pegs while riding. (Maybe that’s helpful if your boots don’t have heels you can hook around the pegs? IDK.) Now, to be clear, I’m just telling you what UpBikers says about its product—I haven’t personally used them, myself.
In fact, to me, they don’t seem like the greatest idea—and here’s why. I’m all for reasonably safe, stable ways for we short riders to confidently operate whatever bikes we want to ride. However, these don’t look all that stable. How easy are they to accidentally rip off your feet by catching them on something unexpectedly? If they just come off and you lose them on the road, that’s one problem. However, to my mind, having them partially dislodge and become an unexpected hazard to your safe bike operation seems like an even worse outcome.
Then there’s the exposed Velcro problem. By simply having Velcro closures on some of my boots and overpants, I can tell you that anything and everything sticks to it. If you have many types of pets, you have pet fur, and you will definitely end up with that in your Velcro. That’s not even beginning to discuss what kind of soft, unpleasant debris you might pick up while riding. Also, can you walk around off the bike in these comfortably and safely? Would you even want to?
Now, tall riders will try to tell you that you just have to build up the confidence to slide one buttcheek down the saddle and one-foot a tall bike as needed. While that’s certainly a possibility for a rider with the confidence to do so, most beginners aren’t going to develop that confidence overnight. That’s something you typically have to work up to, which can take years. So, what can you do that’ll get you on the bike of your dreams a little faster?
Folks, as a person who cooked in professional kitchens for a significant chunk of my working life, I am no stranger to insoles. A good pair of gel insoles can make a huge difference if you’re on your feet all day. Many working people can tell you the same thing, if you’re not already well acquainted with that fact. However, until recently, I was blissfully unaware that there are insoles that can comfortably and securely add height to your diminutive verticality.
Platform shoes don’t work on bikes—but sticking insoles that boost your height inside your motorcycle boots can make a huge difference. I’ve been using a pair that give me an extra 1.25 inches for over a month now, because that’s how recently I found out they existed. Granted, that’s 1.25 inches at the heel, not the toe—but getting one or even both feet down on the ground at stops is much easier than it ever was before. My feet also feel completely stable at all times, and there’s no worry that those insoles will go anywhere unless I take my boots off and physically remove them.
How did I only find out about those insoles so recently? While I’ve followed GearChic’s writing for some time, somehow, I only recently read her blog entry that talks about the benefits of lifted insoles. I’ll link it down in our Sources so you can read it, too. For those unfamiliar, she’s a short rider as well, and while she started out cautious like most of us do, she now rides just about any bike she pleases. She’s a member of the RevZilla family, and her writing is practically required reading for short riders.
There are a number of brands, sizes, styles, materials, and price points to choose from. I’m not here to promote any specific product, but I feel like not enough short riders know that these even exist. They’re super helpful, super stable—and can totally change your riding life. Give them a try.